travel | KUOW News and Information

travel

On Tuesday morning, the Department of Homeland Security announced new restrictions for personal electronics on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Devices larger than a cellphone will not be allowed in the cabin, though they will be allowed in checked baggage.

Later Tuesday, the U.K. announced it would be enforcing a similar rule — using a slightly different list of countries.

The rule change in both countries was unexpected and the explanations for it cryptic.

Here's a quick look at what we know, and what we don't.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

Airline passengers coming to the U.S. and Britain on direct flights from a number of majority-Muslim nations must now place most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras, in checked baggage under stepped-up security measures, the Trump administration and the British government said.

Passengers can still carry smartphones into the plane's cabin, but nothing larger, officials from the two countries added.

The big three U.S. airlines — American, Delta and United — are all taking on the discount carriers by offering no-frills, discounted fares, called "basic economy." Some critics call it "misery class" because you'll board last, sit in a middle seat near the back of the plane, and on United and American, you can't bring a carry-on bag.

Now there is evidence that this lower class of fare is not any lower priced, but instead is a way to raise standard economy fares.

The private company SpaceX has announced that it plans to send two passengers on a mission beyond the moon in late 2018.

If the mission goes forward, it would be the "first time humans have traveled beyond low Earth orbit since the days of Apollo," as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce told our Newscast unit.

The two private citizens approached the company about the idea and have already paid a sizable deposit, CEO Elon Musk told reporters in a conference call. These private individuals will also bear the cost of the mission.

Welcome to the bat cave. No, we're not talking about the secret headquarters of a superhero.

This is Gomantong — an ancient cave carved out of 20 million-year-old limestone in the middle of the Borneo rain forest in Malaysia. It's part of a vast network of tunnels and caverns. And it's the perfect hideout for bats.

Up at the top are millions of bats. Literally millions. They hang upside down all day long from the cave's ceiling, sleeping and pooping.

Will Vancouver continue to be a stand-in for Seattle in film and television.
Flickr Photo/Alex Costin (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rTJE31

The Trump presidency is dampening some Canadians’ enthusiasm for travel to the United States.

That’s according to the Conference Board of Canada, a not-for-profit group that tracks economic trends.

The chief executives of Alaska Airlines, Southwest and Delta Air Lines had positive reactions after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump Thursday morning.

Alaska Airlines launches a daily flight Thursday morning from the West Coast to Havana. The new service comes as the Obama administration's opening to Cuba gives way to an uncertain future.

Bill Radke sits down with local author Maria Semple, author of "Where's You Go, Bernadette?" and the new "Today Will Be Different." Semple discusses the idea of "the helpless traveler," a theory that when on vacation, you choose to either take charge or do absolutely nothing. 

Princess Cruises will pay a $40 million fine for "deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up," according to the Department of Justice, which calls it "the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution."

The California-based cruise operator also agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges over illegal practices on five ships dating back, in at least one case, to 2005.

Washington state is moving toward a showdown like Oregon went through two years ago about issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Washington legislators were warned Monday that current state Department of Licensing policy to not check for legal residency could lead to trouble for everyone at the airport in just over a year.

A project to demonstrate that jets could someday be powered by logging leftovers from Northwest forests gets a culminating test Monday morning. A Boeing 737 is scheduled to take off with fuel tanks filled partly with a wood-based jet fuel.

Alaska Airlines fueled a regularly scheduled cross-country flight from Seattle to Washington, DC with a blend of 80 percent regular jet fuel and 20 percent "biojet." In a sign of how safe the makers think this fuel is, the test flight will carry newly reelected members of Congress back to Washington, D.C., for a lame duck session.

I
Rachel Waldholz

The largest commercial cruise ship ever to attempt the Northwest Passage starts sailing through its frigid waters this week.  

The sea route over the top of Canada has historically been impassable, but ice melting in the Arctic has in recent years cleared a path for shipping vessels. Now, a 1,600-person, 13-deck cruise ship is plying those waters, too.

The Crystal Serenity left Seward, Alaska last week on a 32-day cruise that will take it around Alaska, through the Canadian Arctic, past Greenland and finally to New York.   

The aerial footage shows bright beach umbrella, palm trees, swimming families, jet skis. The sun is shining. The music is upbeat.

The message? "Syria: Always Beautiful."

Over the last few weeks, the Syrian government's Ministry of Tourism has released more than a dozen videos on Youtube, each promoting the charms of Syria as a travel destination.

One video spotlights ancient ruins — with no acknowledgment that many cities in Syria are new ruins, destroyed by the brutal civil war raging there.

Solar eclipse seen from in Yokohama in 2012.
Flickr Photo/J Lippold (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/c2xvgh

Bill Radke talks with Geekwire's Alan Boyle about  North American eclipse of the sun expected August 2017. It's first of its kind in almost a hundred years. But the best places to see it in the Northwest are already getting pretty crowded. 

Pages